Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children
Annual Report 2016

2016 Highlights

Our Community - Children, Adults, Families & Professionals

Sydney, NSW

Lola’s Future Is Looking Bright Sydney, NSW

At just seven weeks of age Lola was diagnosed with congenital bilateral cataracts. Shortly after diagnosis, Lola had her first eye operation. Her journey began with RIDBC at 10 months old and through expert early intervention she has transitioned seamlessly to preschool.

“Just before Lola turned one she started receiving expert early intervention from RIDBC. Her early learning consultant would visit our home once a week and bring Lola beautiful vision toys and activities to play with which really helped Lola with her development,” said Lola’s mum, Amelia. “I feel incredibly passionate about early intervention and it was my personal mission to give her the very best start in life.”

Lola is now three years old and attends RIDBC VisionEd Preschool, which prepares children to transition to school life with a focus on language and social skills, foundation skills for literacy and numeracy, low vision aid and access technology training.

Sydney, NSW

Stanley Thrives With Cochlear Implants Darwin, NT

When Stanley was five days old, his newborn hearing screening test revealed that he was deaf. It was then that his parents, Mikaela and Stuart - who live in the Northern Territory - turned to RIDBC for support.

“Stanley was fitted with two hearing aids at four weeks of age but we never saw a response, even with loud sounds,” said Mikaela.

In September 2013, Stanley received two cochlear implants through RIDBC. Now Stanley’s speech and language are coming along in leaps and bounds.

“As a regional family it’s been incredible to be able to access in-person services from RIDBC Darwin, as well as remote services through RIDBC Teleschool, which supports us with weekly videoconferencing sessions in our home,” said Mikaela.

“With RIDBC, at no point in the journey have we felt alone, or that Stanley would miss out because he doesn’t live in a major metropolitan centre.”

Canberra, ACT

Colin’s Hearing Journey Canberra, ACT

“I lost my hearing quite suddenly following a trip to the Kokoda track in 2009,” said Colin. “I had some sort of adverse reaction to doxycycline medication prescribed for malaria prevention which induced Meniere’s syndrome causing tinnitus and vertigo episodes over a period of about two years.”

It wasn’t until Colin’s hearing deteriorated almost completely that he sought a specialist’s opinion regarding cochlear implantation. “When the implant was switched on my first impression was that the sound was a little bit tinny but many words and sounds were immediately audible and recognisable to me,” said Colin.

“If you are struggling to get much assistance out of your hearing aids you should definitely consider a cochlear implant. For me the procedure was entirely painless and the effect way beyond what I really expected.”

Adelaide, SA

Alison’s Achievement Adelaide, SA

Alison was one of 71 RIDBC Renwick Centre graduates who received their degrees from the University of Newcastle in 2016.

Alison completed her Master of Special Education (Deaf and Hard of Hearing) through RIDBC Renwick Centre, the largest provider of postgraduate education programs in the field of the education of children with a sensory disability in Australia.

Alison believes it is critical that children with hearing loss in a mainstream setting continue to receive specialist support from trained teachers in this field.

“Classrooms are very complex places. Every student has their own individual needs; some more than others. While real experience comes from the day to day working with these students, studying a specialist area enables you to learn from the experts and see what strategies can really benefit you as a teacher and therefore, your students and their families.”

Key Celebrations, Events and Activities

Associate Professor
Catherine Birman
Celebrates 1,000
Cochlear Implant

Associate Professor Catherine Birman Celebrates 1,000 Cochlear Implant Surgeries

RIDBC celebrated a significant milestone in March 2016 when Associate Professor Catherine Birman, Medical Director of SCIC Cochlear Implant Program, performed her 1,000th cochlear implant surgery.

“It is a great honour to be part of so many different people’s journeys to better hearing,” said A/Prof Birman.

NDIS Launch with
Minister Ajaka

NDIS Launch with Minister Ajaka

In June 2016, RIDBC played a key role in a significant milestone, when the Minister for Disability Services, The Honourable John Ajaka MLC, officially announced the launch and roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) for NSW at our North Rocks campus.

It was an honour that our organisation was chosen as the key location for this major announcement.

Clive Berghofer Gifts
$2.8 Million to RIDBC

Clive Berghofer Gifts $2.8 Million to RIDBC

In line with our strategic plan to reach more people and meet nationwide demand for our services, we were delighted to announce a new state of the art RIDBC site in Toowoomba, Queensland.

With thanks to the generous support of local philanthropist, Clive Berghofer, who has pledged $2.8 million to RIDBC towards the development of the new site, we look forward to supporting more people with vision or hearing loss in this important area of Queensland.

Alastair McEwin Launches
New Canberra Site

Alastair McEwin Launches New Canberra Site

In September 2016, RIDBC officially launched its new purpose-built centre in Canberra, located in the Equinox Business Park complex in Deakin.

Alastair McEwin, recently appointed Disability Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission, joined the launch event as special guest presenter.

The development of RIDBC Canberra was made possible with the support of four significant grants.

Katie Kelly Appointed
RIDBC Ambassador

Katie Kelly Appointed RIDBC Ambassador

RIDBC is delighted to have champion paratriathlete and paralympic gold medallist Katie Kelly on board as an ambassador.

Katie has been raising funds for RIDBC for over 20 years and her generous support is integral to raising awareness and much needed funds for the life-changing services that we provide.

“I am thrilled and honoured to be named an ambassador for RIDBC,” said Katie. “I have always been a big supporter of RIDBC.”

RIDBC Students
Celebrate with a Special
‘Wiggley’ Visitor

RIDBC Students Celebrate with a Special ‘Wiggley’ Visitor

During October 2016, teachers and families from RIDBC Thomas Pattison School, RIDBC Teleschool and RIDBC Roberta Reid Preschool celebrated Thomas Pattison School Day with a very special guest – Emma Watkins from The Wiggles.

Thomas Pattison was a deaf migrant to Australia from Scotland, who established RIDBC in October 1860. He believed in the value of equality and the power of education.